What is a fire action notice?
All commercial buildings or business premises must always have in place the relevant health and safety procedures for the protection of any building occupants or visitors. This is especially relevant for fire safety – all business buildings need at least two or three fire safety signs. Everyone will be familiar with, and aware of, Fire Exit signs in buildings – there are, however, other forms of fire safety signs required by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO).
Here is a brief explanation of the mandatory fire signage:
Fire safety signage
There are four essential applications of fire safety signage required in the UK:
• A sign explaining what to do in the event of a fire breakout – this is A FIRE ACTION NOTICE.
• Safety Signage that identifies the locations of, and directions to, fire exit routes, fire doors and designated assembly points.
• Safety Signage that identifies the locations of all fire-fighting equipment – extinguishers, blankets, hose reels and fire alarms should all be clearly marked and easily identified.
• Warning Signage – signs displaying either a warning or prohibition action – ‘Danger’, ‘No Smoking’, ‘Flammable Gas’ are typical examples of these signs.
All these signs should be photo-luminescent, and therefore glow, so they are easily identified by occupants trying to leave the building or access any fire-fighting equipment in the event of a fire incident. Your mandatory Fire Risk Assessment document should clearly define which fire safety signage you need.
Fire action notice
ALL commercial premises MUST display a Fire Action Notice. The purpose of these signs is to clearly outline the recommended course of action to be taken by any building occupants or attendees at the time of a fire outbreak or emergency leading to the building evacuation. These signs will often be in white, red, blue and green, depending upon their specific instructions – red informs people of what they must NOT do, the green and blue signage is usually a guide to actions people SHOULD take in the event of a fire emergency.
This signage is usually pre-printed in a specific format which requires additional information to be inserted:
• The Fire Brigade phone number
• The identified Exit, or Exits, to use when leaving the building
• The established Assembly Point once the building has been evacuated
• Any further relevant information or instructions pertinent to that specific building
Best practice dictates that these notices should be displayed alongside every Fire Alarm call-point and at every final exit door.
If you are the person responsible for the fire safety of a commercial building, then ensure ALL these signs are present and clearly visible – and ensure any changes to the building layout or make-up are reflected in the information displayed in your Fire Action Notice signage.